The Posner and Becker posts on the avian flu are not full of good cheer.
Unrelated to this, Stephen Choi's oft-cited empirical survey of federal judges put Judge Posner at the top, and Judge Samuel Alito near the top at No. 16. The order of merit among the Fourth Circuit judges 65 and under as of 2003 was Wilkinson (No. 3), Niemeyer (No. 4), Luttig (No. 10), Motz (No. 32), Wilkins (No. 37), Williams (No. 49), and Michael (No. 66), if that tells you anything about Choi's "tournament."